Transportation infrastructure is a crucial component for the future success of our great state of Minnesota and this country as a whole. It has been one of my top priorities since being elected and will remain so. Last week, we celebrated Infrastructure Week to emphasize the critical need to invest in our failing infrastructure throughout the United States.
Investing in infrastructure provides good-paying, long-term jobs and increases the revenue and tax dollars being brought in at both the state and federal levels. It also reduces congestion, improves efficiency and brings numerous other benefits to the American people.
I recently led a letter to Transportation Secretary Chao to advocate on behalf of the need to expand I-94 West, a crucial freight corridor in Minnesota’s Sixth District. Through the completion of the project’s first phase of expansion, we’ve already seen an incredible boost in our local economy, and we look forward to seeing the future benefits completed projects like this can bring.
But, our efforts on our transportation infrastructure is not just about dollars and cents, it’s also about people’s lives, stress and most importantly, safety. For example, congestion is responsible for nearly 1 billion hours of lost productivity for the trucking industry annually, and unsafe intersections contribute to more than half of all crashes with injuries in this country. That is why I introduced the National Interchange/Interaction Construction Program (NIISCP) Act last week to focus on how to reduce congestion and save American lives all while increasing local control.
The NIISCP Act does not require any new dollars, but instead allows local entities to compete for existing federal highway funds for projects specifically aimed at improving intersections and interchanges. In particular, this will benefit us in areas like US 10 and Highway 55 where insufficient intersections are the cause of much congestion and delays and a risk to the lives of many.
Our I-94 letter and the NIISCP Act are just a couple of the many ways my office and I are working to invest in infrastructure so we can bring jobs, revenue, efficiency and safety to Minnesota.